Just prior to opening Flour in 2000, Joanne Chang was featured in the Boston Globe for a story all about cookies, and it was a giant photo of these Black Sesame Lace Cookies that illustrated the story. These cookies were a holdover from Chang's days as a pastry chef, where she made these delicate, sesame dotted rounds to garnish bowls of ice cream and sorbet.
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In Asia, black sesame ice cream is as classic a flavor as vanilla in the States. There's not much to improve on it—it just works. Ground black sesame seeds take on the texture of tahini in that "so creamy it changes your perception of what creamy can be" sort of way. The rich, roasted flavors of the seeds, which give off an aroma as complex as fine chocolate, are a perfect match for a light custard.